How Do I Tell My Story of Getting Sober?

I had reached what I can only say was hopefully my last of so many rock bottoms. I remember thinking that I would never make it alone. However, I finally accepted that everybody at Valley Hope wanted to help me. But, as I started getting my craft supplies together, I considered what recovery meant to me. I included the words acceptance, faith, healing, joy, my sobriety date, and most importantly, God. I added daisies and butterflies because they represented my favorite “simple” things in nature and I was desperately seeking simplicity after my life becoming so chaotic in my disease.

What is the hardest thing about sobriety?

And that's when I realised something: the hardest part about getting sober is not stopping drinking. It's everything else. How do you cope without your coping mechanism, the crutch you've been using all your life? You have to learn emotional sobriety.

I am a physician from a multigenerational family of alcoholics, and I never wanted to struggle with alcohol use disorder. Instead, I discovered that I could avoid feelings of discomfort by overworking, achieving, and staying perpetually busy. As an adult, I worked obsessively from Sunday evening to Friday afternoon. I would think, “I just want to turn my brain off,” pour myself a glass of wine and unwind. When I got home that night I felt so wronged. The beer list made me wonder about the quality of our friendship.

Getting Sober Again

From the age of five until I was 12, I didn’t understand how a drink could change my dad so drastically. But, I would find out a few years later. “The twelve steps are about spirituality. They’re about growing along spiritual lines, and sobriety is a by-product of that. Living by spiritual principles is not something that other 21-year olds were doing. The recovery community was different then, too.

Otherwise, I just wasn’t being honest with myself or anyone else. I had lost my wife and my family, my business, and my home. Not to mention my dignity and any trust that my family had in me.  Yet I continued to drink until I was totally at my bottom. I’d wake up hoping there was a bottle within reach and I’d drink (chug) until I’d black out again. The day I decided that I needed help was when I was in the bathroom and looked in the mirror and asked myself what I’m doing to myself. It was the first time I admitted that I had a problem.

Seeking a New Story: On Sobriety and the Stories We Tell About Ourselves

Both my wife and I needed to see that recovery is possible, that this can happen. I felt like I had no real purpose, and Chris challenged me. Lori and Chris were shining examples of what recovery looks like on a daily basis, and this was one of the most important things they did for me. I was able to look back at my childhood and see all the warning signs of just not feeling good about myself, not feeling like I fit in, feeling like I was an outcast.

It builds a strong support system that many of us thrive on. Before driving to Valley Hope, I was on the verge of losing inspirational stories of sobriety my wife and two children due to a heavy alcohol/cocaine addiction. Since recovery, I have a new outlook on life.

I am one year sober today.

I left a moldy place in Seattle for a not-yet-moldy place north of the city. I could start fresh in an apartment where I’d never vomited, miles from the bars. My Seattle apartment was behind a block of five of them. I liked them all, but most nights after work, I showed up at the dim tavern that had pull tabs and pool tables. All of my peers were still at college partying while I was embarking on a spiritual journey.

stories of sobriety

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